12:14PM: DeShields can opt out of his minors deal with the Rangers if he isn’t on the active roster by June 1, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link).
7:21AM: The Yankees have shown interest in trading for Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields Jr., according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). DeShields signed a minor league contract with Texas during the offseason, and has yet to see any Major League action in 2021.
Considering the Yankees’ injury woes in the outfield, DeShields would likely have a much easier path to big league playing time in the Bronx than he will in Arlington. Aaron Hicks and Ryan LaMarre (himself an offseason minors signing for New York) are both on the injured list, while Rosenthal notes that Clint Frazier is dealing with a sore neck. Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played in the outfield since 2019, but he is also on the IL if the Yankees were considering him as an emergency option, leaving the team with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar, and the struggling Frazier as their top options for outfield duty.
Greg Allen and Socrates Brito are available at Triple-A, but the Yankees could prefer a bit of remaining upside in the 28-year-old DeShields. While DeShields has hit only .246/.326/.340 over 2056 career PA in the majors, he does offer plus baserunning and a solid outfield glove capable of above-average defense in center field.
It’s safe to assume the Yankees wouldn’t need to surrender much if they did trade for DeShields, who returned to Texas after being non-tendered by the Indians in December. The Rangers sent DeShields to Cleveland as part of the Corey Kluber trade in December 2019, but DeShields fared poorly in his lone season with the Tribe, first testing positive for COVID-19 in July and then hitting a modest .252/.310/318 in 120 plate appearances.